The weather yesterday was weird. It rained most of the day here, but when I drove up to vwbug's house for the barbeque, the rain clouds ended at Worcester with a razor sharp demarcation. In northern Mass there was nothing but blue sky.
The barbeque was fun. Besides a lot of the Somervillains, Laura and Brendon were there, and we all got to meet their sons. Afterwards we walked over to watch the local fireworks display, which was great fun. There was some discussion of the color chemistry of fireworks, plus what makes things explode and how nuclear decay occurs. After that there was the long drive home followed by inability to get to sleep until about 2 a.m.
Woke up around 6:30, puttered a bit, then went for a ride on the bike path. Did 18 miles and made excellent time. I had planned to do more, but the lack of sleep coupled with the humidity had me seriously running out of gas by the end of the second lap, so I headed home. If it's nice tomorrow I'll head over to East Providence and do the East Bay Bike Path.
Took a shower, then went over to Donna's for her annual shindig. It's an odd feeling going over there. I lived there for fourteen years (the longest stretch of time I've lived anywhere) before she and DH assimilated my apartment, and it's just weird to go through it and not see my stuff. It's especially weird to enter the living room first, because that's the room that's changed the most. I've got to admit it looks a hell of a lot better than my stereotypical male-not-caring-much decor. Still the kitchen hasn't changed much, and I was reminded of how much I miss the extra cabinet space I once had. The further you go back, the more familiar the place becomes. The back room has a washer and dryer installed now, but the big set of shelves I built is still there. Finally, the bedroom looks much as it did when I was there. The only difference is that they use it as a study, so there's no bed. The ceiling still isn't finished. (When he first renovated the room, Mike tried a texture paint on the ceiling that proved to be an abject failure. Within a few years it all started peeling off the ceiling and falling on me while I slept. Rather than try to remove it all, he and I just screwed new wallboard over the old ceiling, expecting to come back another day to spackle then paint it. Neither of those things ever happened. It never much bothered me having an unfinished ceiling when I was there, and it's funny to see that they still haven't finished it, despite having repainted most of the rest of the house.)
The disconnect with the yard is even greater. I mowed that lawn for years and years, and knew every tree and shrub. Now those little trees and shrubs are huge. Also, they've let about a third of the yard go "natural", and just let it grow out of control, with little trimmed paths going through it so one can look at the plants, some planted deliberately, and the rest being, for lack of a better word, weeds. Tick city. OTOH, the town of North Kingstown has not seen fit to send a health inspector out to issue a summons or anything, so it's all good. And the overgrowness turns out to be an opportunity for me, because the forsythia and wild roses are madly overgrown, and Donna encouraged me to come back to take lots of cuttings to plant here. Woo!
There is, however, some sad news regarding the yard. The ancient maple in the front yard is going to be taken down in a couple of weeks. When Hurricane Bob stormed up Narragansett Bay some years ago, the tree was partially split (another old maple was completely knocked down). Mike and I did a temporary fix on it at the time, using a couple of come-alongs and cable to pull it back together, and Donna later had a tree surgeon cable it professionally, but it never did recover, and the worry is that when if it does eventually drop, it will either hit the house, or drop on the road, incidentally taking out all the power and phone lines in the neighborhood with it. Such a shame. Worse, the other big tree in the yard may have some problems with rot, too. Both are wonderful trees to sit under on a sunny afternoons like today.
(Note, I am not even going to discuss my disconnect with the basement. The house was built in the 1860's on a rubblestone foundation, and the basement had a dirt floor. All of my tools rusted away down there, and a lot of other stuff I stored down there grew mold. Six months after I moved out, the oil tank down there sprung a leak, and a lot of heating oil went into the ground. Since DH works for RI DEM, he couldn't very well leave it like that, so they dug out the entire basement, replaced a lot of the foundation, and installed a concrete floor. Now it's really, really nice down there.)
The party itself was small, as usual, just ten of us. The menu was almost exactly the same as last night at vw's, and we sat under the pergola, out of the sun and enjoying the breeze while we ate. (One of the best things about that house is that, because it is surrounded by nothing but wide open fields, there is absolutely nothing to block the wind, so there is always a breeze. Which also translates to no mosquitos, because they all get blown away before they can get near the house.) Afterwards we played bocce on the turf fields and flew a kite. Donna and I set up croquet, but by the time we were ready to play, it was after five, and I was beat from lack of sleep, and the bike ride, and the heat of the day, so I took off for home.
Took another shower, then a short nap. Skipped the fireworks tonight, partly because I am now groggy, as I always am for the rest of the day after I take a nap, partly because the fog rolled in, and partly because I saw some last night with good friends, and it wouldn't be the same tonight.